A FORMER paratrooper from Dunfermline has climbed to the top of one of the world’s most dangerous mountains for charity.

Cliff Hands has returned home following a gruelling scaling of the Matterhorn in the Swiss Alps.

He served for 12 years in the parachute regiment and continues to test himself at high altitude after having climbed the likes of the Himalayas during his service.

The challenge was his deadliest to date but with determination, and Aberlour Child Care Trust rooting for him, he conquered the mountain.

He told the Press: “From a child, I’ve always wanted not only to climb, but to be at high points; a slight addiction to altitude. 

“The Matterhorn itself is a climber’s dream, one of the deadliest mountains in the world, more dangerous than Everest.

“When we all draw a mountain as kids we all draw the Matterhorn. Its steep edges are sublime within itself. A magical mountain to look and gaze at.

“I hadn’t climbed for at least eight years from when I left the parachute regiment.

“I had climbed all over the world, including the Himalayas in India. 

“I had been up in the Isle of Skye doing the Inn Pinn (Inaccessible Pinnacle) on Christmas Day when I knew I had to get back into climbing. 

“I knew I could do this with a combined charity awareness but a solo attempt was something else.

“On arrival in Switzerland and seeing the Matterhorn for the first time, I knew I had a strong task ahead of me.” 

He started his climb at 6am on September 9 and reached the summit by 11.30am, narrowly avoiding being hit by an ice axe that had fallen from a climber above him during the ascent.

Cliff continued: “Spending far too much time at the top, I realised I had to start making my way down the Hornli Ridge. 

“I had caught up with a French couple who were struggling to get down in time and helped them abseil to the Solvay Hut, where a helicopter was called for their extraction.

“I was severely delayed and would be coming down in darkness. 

“I continued down the mountain and then darkness hit me at 7.30pm.”

He reached the bottom wall at 9pm, and he was delighted to raise £1,800 for charity, adding: “With determination and a good mindset, you can accomplish your dream, and knowing at the same time you’re doing something not only for yourself, but for lots of different people.”